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The Referee's a Wanker

By Chris Leyland :  22/10/2007 :  Comments (23) :
I sent Keith Hackett the email below earlier this evening not expecting a reply. But to my surprise he replied within the hour. Maybe this (former) referee's not a wanker...
Dear Mr Hackett

I am writing to you with regard to the refereeing display by Mr Clattenburg on Saturday 20th October 2007.

Whilst I can accept that in a modern, fast-flowing, passionate game of football a referee can make an honest mistake, what I cannot accept is to see such a one-sided inconsistent and blatantly poor performance from a professional referee.

I have watched a number of the incidents back again on several occasions and would appreciate a response to the following questions:

1. Was the initial contact made by Tony Hibbert for the incident that led to a penalty kick for a foul on Steven Gerrard outside the penalty box?

2. Why did Mr Clattenburg produce a yellow card for Mr Hibbert only to then change it to a red card after Mr Gerrard spoke to him?

3. Why was Dirk Kuyt not sent from the field of play for violent conduct for a two footed off the ground lunge at Phil Neville?

4. Why was Jamie Carragher not penalised with the award of a penalty kick to Everton after his foul on Joleon Lescott in the last minute of the game?

Incidents like all of those described above only serve to bring into question the reputation of referees. There is already serious concern about the so-called "Big Four" Premier League Clubs receiving favourable treatment from Pgmol employees, and all of the above happening in the space of 45 minutes only serve to add to those concerns.

Whilst I am not expecting the courtesy of a response to this email, I would remind you that the wages of Pgmol are effectively paid for by ordinary people like myself who pay week-after-week to attend football matches. Displays like Mr Clattenburg's on Saturday will only serve to destroy the game of football and hasten the departure of fans who quite frankly are disgusted by such performances.

Yours in disgust.

Chris Leyland

His response is posted below. To be fair to him, he has at least tried to answer the questions I asked him.


Many thanks for your email. I am still awaiting receipt of the Assessors Report, Match Delegate report and ProZone.

These are the three ways in which the performance of the match official is analysed.

The Match Assessor is a former top class referee

The Match Delegate is appointed by the Premier League independent of the Professional Game Match Officials Ltd. ProZone looks in detail at every decision. I have attached details of the ProZone system for you to look at.

Now to your points which I am answering on one view through MOD [Match of the Day]

  1. Need to have another look
  2. Mr Clattenburg had not alternative other than to dismiss the player for a clear act of the denial of an obvious goal scoring opportunity. The criteria for a red card clearly fulfilled.

    Some referees keep a record of the sanctions they have applied on their yellow card. This is poor practice and I am frankly going to issue a new directive where they will adopt the use of a book to record the names and then having ascertained the players name they will then show the card. I can assure you that Mr Gerrard had NO INFLUENCE ON THE RED CARD.

  3. I agree a two footed challenge is reckless endangering the safety of an opponent. This challenge also used excessive force therefore a red card should have been issued.
  4. I will have another look at the Penalty incidents when I receive the prozone disk to look at proximity to play, viewing angles etc.

Chris I fully understand your disappointment which I share. Please be assured that accountability for inadequate performances results in lost appointments and therefore this effects what the official earns

Thanks for your email.


Keith Hackett
General Manager

Reader Comments

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Derek Thomas
1   Posted 23/10/2007 at 05:25:35

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Nothing will change, we might find out later that there was a slap over the wrist with a wet bus ticket for the Reff.
But alway remember the golden rule...

Those with all the gold make the rules!!
mick Simo
2   Posted 23/10/2007 at 08:10:21

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Look the G14 run European Football go to there website, it is actually 18 clubs and they have a lot more power than UEFA not directly but indirectly and they call it democratic and they look after the interests of all clubs BOLLOCKS
3   Posted 23/10/2007 at 08:21:02

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written excellently by hacketts "bit of blonde stuff" secretary!
Lee Smith
4   Posted 23/10/2007 at 08:25:24

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Well I am frankly amazed that you receieved a reply from him. He must be a very busy man and to find the time to reply to individuals enquiries must be praised. I must admit he has gone up in my estimation for making the effort to email you.

Big thumbs up to you too Chris for instigating the correspondance. Now just lets all up some adequate form of punishment is given to Clattenburg once all the official reports are in.

Well done again to Chris and Mr Hackett.
Lee Smith
5   Posted 23/10/2007 at 08:29:41

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doh! should be "hope some adequate........" not "up"!
Shaun Brennan
6   Posted 23/10/2007 at 08:34:24

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At least you got a decent well written response.

Imagine if Ian Ross was the man in the FA.
Jay Campbell
7   Posted 23/10/2007 at 09:09:06

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Clattenberg must av had a scorecast of 2-1 to Liverpool and Kuyt to score the 1st goal. Own Goal’s don’t count az a 1st goalscorer. Cheating dirty B*stard’s I F*ckin hate them. Football’s littered wi them now.
Rob Limbrey
8   Posted 23/10/2007 at 09:27:48

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good to see Hackett making a well-written response - but when will they learn that the current system of refereeing is fundamentally limited? Without any significant recriminations after the game - to player or referee - then mistakes and injustices will continue to profligate. I know that the footballing fraternity don’t like stealing ideas from the egg-chasers, but their system of citations really does at least punish players for dangerous behaviour, if they get away with it in the game.
Howard Flint
9   Posted 23/10/2007 at 09:35:36

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Lets get over it.There’s been plenty of occasions when we’ve had a rub of the referee’s green.
We need to concentrate our efforts on what’s within our control, like why we dont create chances, rather than harping on about something we cant change.
Lee Mandaracas
10   Posted 23/10/2007 at 09:10:24

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Firstly, I echo Lee Smith’s response. Secondly, I think Keith Hackett is fair in responding in a reasoned fashion when challenged as he did last year when shown the video of ten penalty claims (although his appraisal of Hibberts ’challenge’ in this case was inaccurate in that there was no challenge and Gerrard stuck out his right leg to encounter Hibbert’s left knee. Therefore, the card should have been yellow and in the opposite direction.)

Hi reply No. 2 was flawed in that he suggests Clattenberg was recording Hibbert’s details on the yellow card. No such action took place and he replaced the card, swapping it for a red immediately upon Gerrard’s comments. This denial from Hackett is blatantly inaccurate or blinkered, albeit I understand his obvious need to refute the allegation.

The point in my first paragraph is the one that bothers me most of all. Keith Hackett agreed last year that nine out of the ten claims for a penalty the had been denied and the other one claim was arguable either way. We believed this would introduce a littel more balance from his staff when considering our claims for the remainder of the season. We all know that was not the case and we continued to suffer arguably more than any other team in the entire division from refereeing decisions over the course of the season. As a result, I don’t expect any more than for this to be a talking point that may rear it’s ugly head in the return game and then forever forgotten by all but us.

The one shining light was David Moyes. I got so tired of his being nice to referees who had robbed us last year and just wanted him to be honest and make them accountable - as far as the FA will allow. He tried a new tactic of being nice last year hoping to win them around and it failed by, in my opinion, allowing us to be walked over. It is long overdue now that Moyes comes out and says, "That referee cost us points, potentially a place in Europe or the Champion’s League (as would have been the case last year were decisions correct) and millions of pounds. Bring on the fine, it has to be said!" At last he did this, albeit in a more measured fashion. For that I am grateful but how long will it be until we get a bloody break?
Brian Waring
11   Posted 23/10/2007 at 10:18:35

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I think the time has come,that when a ref has a howler of a game he should be made to come out and explain his performance.The F.A,etc lose all credibility in the eyes of fans,with their stance over poor performances from these so called un-biased refs.We now hear that Clattenburg is not officiating at the weekend because he had a planned holiday (wonder where he got the money from)and it has nothing to do with the derby performance.Don’t they realise that if they came out and said it that he had a poor game and he would be facing a match ban that it would install a bit of faith back into their organization.I actually like Clattenburg and think he is one of our better refs and it is sad that every game he now takes charge of he will be under so much pressure because of his derby display.Every game involving one of the bigger club will be scrutinized to the hilt.Another big loss for him,is that he will probalby not have the privilage to referee the biggest derby game in the world again.
Mark Stone
12   Posted 23/10/2007 at 11:16:51

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Kuyt should recieve at retrospective lengthy ban, if this doesn’t happen I’ll be hugely pissed off
Brian Waring
13   Posted 23/10/2007 at 11:22:03

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The problem is that the fa can’t do nothing about it Mark,because he recieved a yellow card (maybe Clattenburg knew by giving him a yellow,the fa could not follow it up)I think they only intervene if the ref doesn’t see it.
14   Posted 23/10/2007 at 11:10:09

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This ref went on a tour with Liverpool FC in the summer to Asia - Now I don’t know the detials of who paid his expenses etc., but ... Refs need to be banned from accepting any form of hospitality since it just draws into question thier credibility.

Lets hope Hackett is true to his word above; when the reports are in, the facts support a one match ban at least - if not then all is lost!

There is a petition (likley pointless) if anyone wants to sign:
Shaun Brennan
15   Posted 23/10/2007 at 11:39:26

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sign it and pass it on.
Dave Richman
16   Posted 23/10/2007 at 12:18:00

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Howard Flint wrote:

"Lets get over it.There?s been plenty of occasions when we?ve had a rub of the referee?s green."

Just remind me when that was.....

Clive Thomas, Hansen ’84, Nevin at Analfield, Don Hutch, Alan Wiley, Jeff Winter, Poll ... Riley... need I go on?
Peter Roberts
17   Posted 23/10/2007 at 12:26:11

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Brian - in response to your point on the Kuyt challenge, I would surely hope the FA see sense to at least suspend Kuyt for one game. The guy said himself he was a bit lucky to stay on the field. It should be three for violent conduct, but to not act because the referee has bottled showing another red card quite frankly is ludicrous. It would again instil some faith in the FA that sadly a lot of people have lost because they are merely a puppet in the G14 roadshow.
Patty Bee
18   Posted 23/10/2007 at 12:43:15

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Lucky old you - I also e-mailed Keith Hackett but didn’t even get an acknowledgement.

I too have read that Clottenburg’s [deliberate mistake] wife is a Liverpool supporter and he is a life long Liverpool supporter. He was invited to join Liverpool F.C.’s Asian Cup Tour. Speaks for itself doesn’t it? One could not expect him to be completely unbiased if he tried. I do believe that when referees are registered they should be asked which team they follow and are not then given a match to referee with that team playing in. Graham Poll was a prime examjple - another self-confessed Liverpool supporter. Don’t any of them support EFC?

Oh and by the way, Lyndon, Patty is my real name - it stems from all my Belfast family calling me "little patty" as a child instead of Patricia and Patty I have always been known as.
19   Posted 23/10/2007 at 13:57:51

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Quote from Gerrards new autobiography:
"As captain I view refs in a different light.

Its handy to build a decent relationship with a ref, to get him on your side.

Im quite cynical about that.

Its gamesmanship, a tight decision in the ninetieth minute may go my way if ive spent all game being friendly to the ref, hes only human.

an official like Poll or Clattenburg is likely to be sympathetic if I work with them than if im in their face all game like a cheeky scouser"

Think this says it all!!
20   Posted 23/10/2007 at 15:35:40

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Tufty shame on you for reading that scums book (even though its a good)
seany blue
21   Posted 23/10/2007 at 18:51:01

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Lets just all agree... the ref was a piss poor attempt of an offical.. but lets not forget the linesmen didnt help him very much either, i agree with one of the comments made we DONT CREATE chances full stop.. in fact for all our huffing and puffing i couldnt see us scoring agaist them. apart from set pieces which we relie on far to much we need to spend millions on a decent midfield!! We always lose out on possesion never string more than 4 passes together and i can count on one hand how many clear cut chances the yak has had....3, the 1 he scored at bolton, the one agaist wednesday and the header he missed agaist metelist!!! Surely this isnt good enough?? We need to create and soon or this could be a long old season
john cheetham
22   Posted 23/10/2007 at 19:07:11

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Do referee’s still get paid if they get a match or not? I mean are they salered?
Otherwise what is the penalty of having a day off
23   Posted 24/10/2007 at 02:20:36

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You made a point before that we pay the PGMOL wages. They generate their own funds as well. AirAsia signed a deal to sponsor the English Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), the body representing all the professional football referees in England. That makes AirAsia the Official Sponsor of Professional Game Match Officials for a period of three years. Courtesy of Mr Hackett.

They are also the official sponsors of Manchester United football club, and call themselves the Manchester United airline. Can they also sponsor referees???

One thing has to be asked is if a Liverpool win would benefit Air Asia in any way, and this answer is obviously and emphatically yes.. The aim of AirAsia is to open up all European airports and cheap flights, similar to Easy Jet to all Eastern locations, Thailand, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore. Liverpool are by far the biggest supported team in all these areas with a following of millions. If Liverpool and Man Utd are in Europe then this guarantees them business. Surely this needs to be looked into. The OFT are set up to look into these aspects. It may be worth someone approaching them, as there are serious grounds for corruption.

I posted a previous comment about this company, and they are so corrupt you would not believe. It is part of the reason the new chairman of Man City is being investigated. I also posted a link to a letter from the human rights association to the FA regarding corruption, and abuse. I would suggest everyyone read this because it highlights how unconcerned the FA is about these matters.

. This is also no conspiracy story. You can freely check all the details on the internet.

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